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August 21, 2014

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  • On the brain but not the lips: State tax hikes

    February 25, 2009

    It’s hard to get anyone in the Legislature to say the word “taxes,” much less admit that raising them is going to be part of the solution to the state’s $2.36 billion budget hole.

  • Locals pitch ability to raise taxes without Legislature

    February 25, 2009

    Nevada cities want the right to raise taxes without having to seek the permission of the Legislature. “We’re asking for local authority to bypass the Legislative authorization,” said Dan Musgrove, a lobbyist for the Nevada League of Cities and Municipalities.

  • 7 GOP votes for a tax hike: A trend?

    February 25, 2009

    The key number in the Assembly vote Tuesday to increase the hotel room tax, mostly in Clark County, was seven. Why? Because that’s the number of Republicans who voted for it.

  • Art of the deal: Get inside head, not heart

    February 25, 2009

    Legislators in Carson City are steeling themselves for what are expected to be tough negotiations this spring.

  • Nevada Assembly OKs bill to raise room tax

    February 24, 2009

    The Nevada Assembly passed the initiative petition that will raise the room tax, sending it to Senate for a possible showdown next week. The bill passed 35 to 7, with all seven votes against coming from Republicans.

  • 
Hotel rooms in Clark and Washoe counties will be assessed a 3 percent tax under a room tax expected to pass today in the Legislature.

    Legislature pressed into action on ‘revenue enhancement’

    February 24, 2009

    Nevada seems poised to enact its first significant tax increase since 2003, with the Assembly likely to approve a 3 percentage point hotel room tax increase today.

  • Buckley outlines her forced savings bill

    February 23, 2009

    CARSON CITY – Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley, D-Las Vegas, unveiled a forced savings plan for state government aimed at cushioning its budget against boom and bust cycles.

  • In Nevada, Reid touts jobs he says stimulus will bring

    In Nevada, Reid touts jobs he says stimulus will bring

    February 18, 2009

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid visited Carson City on Wednesday and touted the recently passed federal stimulus plan and the “tens of thousands of jobs” he said it will bring to Nevada. He said the Legislature will have to make tough choices.

  • Stimulus will net state $200 million for transportation

    February 17, 2009

    Nevada will get $200 million for state transportation projects from the federal economic stimulus signed by President Barack Obama on Tuesday.

  • Stimulus money issues more than just: How much?

    February 17, 2009

    The biggest job in Carson City this week is decoding the federal economic stimulus bill passed by Congress and figuring out how much money Nevada will get — and what strings are attached.

  • Court fast-tracks ethics complaint resolution

    February 15, 2009

    he Nevada Supreme Court has agreed to accelerate the resolution of a dispute between state Sen. Warren Hardy and the Nevada Ethics Commission.

  • State Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, confers with Sen. Warren Hardy, R-Las Vegas, at the Legislative Building in Carson City. Budget negotiations are ongoing in the legislative session.

    Democrats have edge, but GOP holds key to budget deal

    February 14, 2009

    Even in the early days of this legislative session, the contours of a deal to confront the state’s budget crisis are taking shape. Though it’s not clear what the final tax plan will look like because all parties are being silent about it, some consensus is emerging about what Republicans will try to extract.

  • Insurers likely to get bill for autism

    February 11, 2009

    Democrats in the state Assembly will unveil legislation this week to force insurance companies to provide coverage for the treatment of autism.

  • Hands off our dollars, local leaders tell state

    February 11, 2009

    State leaders are eyeing local government coffers to help make up some of the state’s budget shortfall. Local governments got to make the case Tuesday that they’re hurting too.

  • Gibbons’ surprise health agency cut criticized

    February 10, 2009

    The chief of the state’s consumer health assistance program in the governor’s office learned about a plan to abolish her office by watching Gov. Jim Gibbons’ State of the State address last month.

  • 
Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto testifies last week before the Assembly's Commerce and Labor Committee. She's introduced a bill that would give her standing in mergers in the state.

    Seeking a boost in regulatory power

    February 9, 2009

    Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, stung that her office had little authority last year to review the biggest health insurance company merger in state history, is seeking new authority to review such cases for potential abuse of market power.

  • Senators meet Thursday during the first week of the legislative session in Carson City. More than 200 bills have been assigned to committees for the biennial regular session.

    Week 1: Money, or the lack thereof

    February 8, 2009

    Here’s your Legislature, week one, wrapped up and summed up, jamming on some Comma Coffee espresso (that’s the coffeehouse across the street from the Legislature, next to the — yes, it’s true — hookah bar.)

  • A plan for green energy, off the budget

    February 6, 2009

    Gov. Jim Gibbons is moving forward with plans to bolster the development of a renewable energy industry despite the state’s budget troubles.

  • Budgets cuts could delay ‘flagship’ museum opening

    February 5, 2009

    Construction on a new state museum in Las Vegas will be completed in April but the facility, described as the “flagship” of the state’s system, probably won’t open until mid-2011.

  • State Sen. Bob Coffin, D-Las Vegas, presents a box Tuesday that he said held tax suggestions he's received as the new tax committee chairman.

    Sen. Coffin: A candid Senate showman takes the gavel

    February 4, 2009

    Sen. Bob Coffin said that despite his new role of chairman, “I’m not gonna stop being Bob,” which, to the several lobbyists gathered in the room, must have seemed as much like a threat as it did reassurance. The new chairman of the Senate tax committee is quite blunt about the direction the committee will move in the next two months.

  • Plenty to do, even without budget crisis

    February 4, 2009

    The 75th session of the Nevada Legislature will be about -- what else? -- money, but as capital veterans point out, only 10 people or so will be deeply involved in the negotiations over how to solve the state’s $2.3 billion fiscal crisis.

  • Assemblywoman Peggy Pierce says raising taxes "is the responsible thing to do" so that Nevada has the money to provide for the needs of its residents.

    Peggy Pierce, Democratic state Assembly member

    February 4, 2009

    Peggy Pierce came to Las Vegas for a career in show business, but found work as a housekeeper and food server.

  • Assembly unanimously upholds Gibbons’ veto of HOA bill

    February 3, 2009

    The Nevada Assembly began the 2009 session by taking care of old business from 2007. Legislators today upheld the governor's veto of a bill that would have made sweeping changes to the governing and operations of homeowners associations.

  • Photogallery

    Second Day of the Legislature

  • Bill introduced to bring light rail system to Clark County

    February 3, 2009

    A light rail system connecting Henderson and the proposed new airport in Ivanpah, south of Las Vegas, could be a gold mine, says Sen. Mike Schneider, D-Las Vegas. Schneider has introduced Senate Bill 115 to require local governments to work cooperatively to establish a fixed guideway corridor from Henderson to North Las Vegas.

  • Connor Lindoff meets Gov. Jim Gibbons while accompanying, from left, John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas, Bernie Anderson, D-Reno, and Heidi Gansert, R-Reno, on the first day of the 2009 legislative session. Gibbons asked Connor, who is Anderson's grandson, if he was ready to get to work. "I already am," Connor replied. "I'm in kindergarten."

    State leaders pray for the best to begin session

    February 3, 2009

    The opening day of the 75th meeting of the Nevada Legislature featured bagpipes, lengthy prayers, elegant orations and baroque floral arrangements, like a celebration of the dead. Though it wasn’t a funeral exactly, a more somber than usual mood prevailed, and it was a little hard not to think of Nevada’s last rites.

  • With no federal match, Nevada leaving money on table

    February 3, 2009

    Congress approved more federal spending to expand the Children’s Health Insurance Program and lawmakers in Carson City say they will defeat the governor’s proposal to cap the number of children who can participate in the state’s program. But experts say all of that will do Nevada little good if the state doesn’t start spending more of its own money in the program.

  • State senators, from left, Warren Hardy, R-Las Vegas, Maggie Carlton, D-Las Vegas, and Allison Copening, D-Las Vegas, wait outside the Assembly chamber to ceremonially inform them that the Senate is "organized and ready for business" on the first day of the 2009 legislative session Monday in Carson City.

    Gibbons says he hopes Legislature strikes bipartisan tone

    February 2, 2009

    Gov. Jim Gibbons said he hopes the 2009 Legislature will be a bipartisan one, but there were reasons Monday to expect it won’t be. Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, said in his opening remarks to the 75th session of the Legislature that the people of Nevada “do not want to see their university system dismantled."

  • Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford and his daughter, Ella, greet Sen. Barbara Cegavske before a Leader's Prayer Breakfast in the old assembly chambers in Carson City on Monday.

    Legislature begins session amid bleak financial outlook

    February 2, 2009

    The Nevada Legislature opens at noon today, facing one of the worst financial pictures in the state’s history. It looks like it has the potential to be a raucous session with Democrats controlling both the Senate and the Assembly, where they will duel with Republican Gov. Jim Gibbons.

  • Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley, from left, Sen. Warren Hardy, Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford and Assemblyman Joe Hardy discuss the state budget and other issues the Legislature will take up starting Monday.

    Lawmakers undaunted by budget task

    February 1, 2009

    No Nevada Legislature in recent memory has confronted the dire financial situation that faces state lawmakers as they convene Monday: a $2.3 billion budget shortfall, an unprecedented foreclosure crisis and a state economy in freefall. The Sun brought together four lawmakers — two Democrats and two Republicans — during a break from committee hearings last week to discuss the 75th session of the Legislature. (Gov. Jim Gibbons was invited to participate or send a representative. He declined.)

  • Video

    Legislative Leadership Roundtable

    Four state lawmakers discuss the looming budget crisis and other issues on the agenda ahead of the start of the next session of the Nevada Legislature.

  • Will stimulus bill bail out faint-hearted state leaders?

    February 1, 2009

    The past few months here have felt like the buildup to something historic.

  • State stops publicizing aid programs to cut costs

    February 1, 2009

    State officials, facing shrinking budgets and a growing demand for government services, have stopped publicizing some programs that aid the poor, children and the elderly in an effort to slow ballooning costs.

  • Localities to spend more than $1 million on lobbyists

    February 1, 2009

    Southern Nevada’s local governments are poised to spend more than $1 million in public funding on outside lobbyists to represent their interests in Carson City, where the 2009 legislative session opens on Monday.

  • The lobbyists behind the lawmakers

    The lobbyists behind the lawmakers

    February 1, 2009

    In the final hours of the 2005 legislative session, well-meaning lawmakers unanimously approved big tax breaks for companies that build environmentally-friendly buildings.

  • Funding for the arts, state parks in jeopardy

    February 2, 2009

    Sections of Gov. Jim Gibbons' budget plan could dramatically change the state’s ability to attract visitors and, thus, generate tax revenue that could help solve some of the state’s financial problems.

  • Jon Ralston notes with hope Gibbons’ absence from the real state budget process

    February 1, 2009

    In 2008, when it came to the budget crisis, it was the Year of the Olive Branch. A governor whose vision consisted of a mindless mantra and a calculator with only a minus key made rote cuts and co-opted lawmakers, who were afraid of the political consequences and gave Jim Gibbons a rubber stamp.

  • Card check battle takes center stage at Capitol

    January 31, 2009

    If you didn’t know better, you’d think it was campaign season.

  • Localities brace for state raid on revenue

    January 31, 2009

    In government halls across the Las Vegas Valley, the groaning you hear is depressed bureaucrats mourning the loss of sales tax revenue and trying to figure out how to pay the bills.

  • State Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, at the lectern, and Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley, right, announce at a Las Vegas news conference a timetable for their response to the state's revenue crisis and Gov. Jim Gibbons' budget, which proposes deep cuts in state services.

    Top Democrats’ wait-and-see on budget: Savvy or spineless?

    January 30, 2009

    There are two ways to look at the performance of top Democrats in the run-up to the legislative session, during which elected officials will have to deal with an unprecedented fiscal crisis.

  • Dems mum on remedy for budget shortfall

    Dems mum on remedy for budget shortfall

    January 29, 2009

    Democratic legislative leaders continue to decline to provide specifics about how they'll fix the state's fiscal mess. Instead, Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford and Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley, both Las Vegas Democrats, held a press conference today to discuss the schedule for how budget deliberations will proceed.

  • Gibbons defends cuts, says critics have no alternatives

    January 27, 2009

    Gov. Jim Gibbons defended his budget proposal and cuts to higher education in a question and answer session Tuesday morning with members of the Reno-Sparks Chamber of Commerce.

  • Gibbons’ staffers face barrage of budget questions

    January 25, 2009

    On Thursday and Friday, a legislative subcommittee began the biennial process of examining the executive budget.

  • Thousands of students turned out Thursday night at UNLV for a boisterous rally against Gov. Jim Gibbons' proposed budget cuts, which would hit the school particularly hard. Organizers of the rally drew support from a barrage of fliers posted around the campus announcing the event. A town-hall meeting is planned at the school on Monday.

    Signs of anger, disapproval over proposed cuts

    January 24, 2009

    In a display of campus activism not seen for years, more than 3,000 demonstrators converged on UNLV’s academic mall Thursday night to protest cuts in higher education funding.

  • Health officials paint grim picture under Gibbons' plan

    Health officials paint grim picture under Gibbons’ plan

    January 23, 2009

    County hospitals could close, the state could receive $14 million in federal sanctions and rural Nevadans could be left without mental health treatment, according to a grim assessment of Gov. Jim Gibbons’ social services budget delivered Friday.

  • Tax committee chair OK with hearing on Las Vegas prostitution

    January 23, 2009

    The chair of the Assembly Taxation Committee is open to hearing proposals to legalize prostitution in Las Vegas. "Everything's on the table," said Assemblywoman Kathy McClain, D-Las Vegas. "It's going to be an interesting buffet."

  • Gibbons says federal money could help avoid cuts

    January 23, 2009

    Hold off on those budget cuts! Gov. Jim Gibbons said the cavalry is coming with federal dollars.

  • Veterans keeping wish-list moderate

    January 23, 2009

    For military veterans, the small things matter. Like being able to take advantage of disabled parking privileges and still have a Purple Heart license plate.

  • Buckley slams Gibbons on consumer health office

    January 23, 2009

    Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley introduced the bill in 1999 to create the state’s Consumer Health Assistance Office.

  • Lawmakers weigh possible changes in prison construction

    January 22, 2009

    The construction plans for state prisons in Southern Nevada don’t make sense to some legislators. “It makes little sense to cut education and build more prisons,” said Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley during hearings on the budget of the state Public Works Board.

  • Under consideration: Tax brothels, consider legalizing prostitution in Las Vegas

    January 22, 2009

    In these tough budgetary times, the chairman of a key state Senate committee is willing to consider the world’s oldest profession as a potential source of new tax revenue.

  • Raggio saving his voice on cuts?

    January 22, 2009

    There’s a time to fight. And a time to wait.

  • Let the airing of the budget begin

    January 22, 2009

    Just about everyone has beaten up on the governor’s budget in the past week. Expect a new round of it starting today.

  • As Democrats take power in upper house, old order fades

    January 18, 2009

    Sen. Warren Hardy glanced around his new office, a cramped affair more befitting a small town claims adjuster than an experienced state senator with nearly two decades in Carson City.

  • Poll finds meager support for pay cuts

    January 18, 2009

    Tax increases have long been considered the third rail of Nevada politics.

  • The ignorance or dishonesty of Gibbons’ State of the State

    January 18, 2009

    Even before Gibbons took a sledgehammer to the foundation of the higher education system and locked the state in the national lower education cellar for years to come, the state never adequately met the needs of its people, and government here is far from bloated.

  • Jon Ralston on cutting education’s nose to spite Rogers’ face

    January 16, 2009

    So this is what happens when you call the governor an idiot?

  • NLV mayor to state: Hands off our funding

    January 17, 2009

    At a time when North Las Vegas is trimming $15 million from its budget and a foreclosure crisis is tearing its way through town, Mayor Mike Montandon preached optimism in this week’s State of the City address.

  • Counties bracing for fight with Gibbons on budget

    January 16, 2009

    While Gov. Jim Gibbons wants to siphon money from the counties, the counties are getting ready to battle for more authority to raise taxes. “A lot of counties are experiencing revenue shortfalls and having to reduce their expenditures and lay off people,” says Jeff Fontaine, executive director of the Nevada Association of Counties.

  • Gibbons doesn’t get it

    January 16, 2009

    Thursday night was Gov. Jim Gibbons’ opportunity to lay out his two-year vision for Nevada. The problem was that any semblance of vision was nowhere to be found in his State of the State address to lawmakers in Carson City.

  • Nevada's budget for the next biennium now goes to the Legislature, where Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford and Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley, both Democrats, will take part in committee hearings over the next two weeks in advance of the session beginning Feb. 2.

    Reluctantly sharing bad news, Gibbons leaves some out

    January 16, 2009

    Gov. Jim Gibbons was understandably reluctant to deliver the bad news in his State of the State address Thursday. At moments, he was like a teenager who has tell his parents that he wrecked the family car, but puts off the task with buttery good news and pointless small talk.

  • Jon Ralston on cutting education’s nose to spite Rogers’ face

    January 16, 2009

    So this is what happens when you call the governor an idiot?

  • Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons delivers his State of the State address in Carson City.

    Deep cuts, as promised

    January 16, 2009

    There are no better punching bags for conservatives than government bureaucrats and pointy-headed professors. Thus, the budget of Gov. Jim Gibbons. The Republican governor’s proposed $6.17 billion budget for the next two years has $2.3 billion in cuts and revenue enhancements compared with the spending plan he signed in 2007.

  • Democratic response: Legislature will overhaul tax structure

    January 15, 2009

    CARSON CITY – Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley, D-Las Vegas, said the Legislature intends to overhaul the state’s financial structure so there will not be “draconian cuts to education and public safety every time the economy tanks.”

  • Governor proposes salary cuts to avoid some layoffs

    January 15, 2009

    The governor plans to reduce the salaries of state workers and school teachers by 6 percent effective July 1, avoiding the alternative of laying off 9,000 to 11,000 employees. In addition to pay cuts and higher insurance premiums for state employees, the governor’s budget envisions laying off 375 workers and eliminating another 1,100 vacant positions.

  • Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons delivers his State of the State address in Carson City.

    Education, state workers hit in bare-bones budget

    January 15, 2009

    CARSON CITY – Gov. Jim Gibbons’ two-year $6.1 billion budget will hit Clark and Washoe counties to help make up the deficit, as well as reduce the benefits of state employees.

  • BLOG: State of the State address

    January 15, 2009

    Updates from Gov. Jim Gibbons' State of the State address, which began at 6 p.m. in Carson City.

  • Blog: Politics: The Early Line

    Lawmakers preparing for governor’s speech

    CARSON CITY -- In the Assembly chambers, which is beginning to fill in preparation for the governor's state-of-the-state address at 6. Some updates, via Sun columnist Jon Ralston: Clark County Commission Chair Rory Reid sent out a statement responding to Gibbons' raid on county dollars: ...

  • Blog: Politics: The Early Line

    Governor’s budget won’t spread the pain equally

    I just left an embargoed press briefing on the governor's budget. "Embargo" in the media world means we can't reveal what was said until an appointed time, in this case, 6 p.m., when the governor makes his State of the State speech.